Can tomatoes be WS in the Maritimes?

ontnative(5b Can/USDA 4)March 11, 2009

My sister lives near Halifax, and was asking me if she WS tomatoes, will the plants be mature enough to produce tomatoes at the normal time in the summer? She usually starts her tomato plants indoors and grows them in her sunporch until planting in the garden in early June. Being a newbie to WS, I was going on and on about my first WS attempts this year. However I am just growing perennials and a few annuals, so timing is not so critical. My sister relies on her large vegetable gardens to provide food for eating and freezing.

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northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)

Hi Ontnative: This is a discussion that has been going on for quite some time on the "mother Forum" - you may want to search for some of the threads. I am in Zone 5a (Canada) and I have tried just plain WSing and it was a failure - guess I got one seedling. Then a friend suggested what he did here - an improvised cold frame in his backyard: 2 feet deep with grass under the pots for bottom heat and a glass cover. He had great results. I was not able to replicate that, but I used an old cooler, lined with styrofoam, covered with glass and planted out on April 1. They all germinated in late April, but I found their development was slow and it seemed the plants never really thrived. I still ended up getting my ripe tomatoes in late August (one yellow cherry) and the others in September. So this year, I will be doing the 'under the lights' in the basement method. One thing your sister might want to look for: how many volunteers does she get every year in her garden? Over the years I have only had about two. Those varieties would probably winter sow quite well. She may also want to try some 'early' varieties. I have not looked into that because I know what I like right now. Hope this helps. Good luck!!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 5:29AM
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ontnative(5b Can/USDA 4)

Thanks for letting me know your experience with tomato seeds. I think my sister should stick to her regular method of starting her tomatoes indoors, at least for her main crop. If she wanted to experiment with a few plants of an extra early variety and try starting them in a "cold frame" type set-up, that might be OK.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 12:47PM
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I live near Halifax too, but close to the Atlantic Ocean in the village of Prospect Bay. I have tried winter sowing tomatoes, but my summer is way too cool because of the ocean.

Now, if I was the same distance from Halifax, but more inland, I bet you I'd be telling you differently. As a matter of fact, a friend of mine in Sackville, which is a part of the Halifax Regional Municipality has winter sown tomatoes for the last couple of years. On a nice summer day it can be 30C at her home but 25C here and we only live 1/2 hour apart.

Your friend should try it with a few spare seeds. It would be interesting for her to find out whether or not her area will produce. :O)

    Bookmark   March 23, 2009 at 8:38PM
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